Wild Blueberry Newsletter – September 2012

wild blueberry newsletter headerSeptember 2012

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) Interactive Survey

Blueberry Flamer Demonstration

You are invited to a demonstration by Steve Koch, Director of Agriculture Division of Flame Engineering, Inc., at Blueberry Hill Farm in Jonesboro on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 6 p.m. to see a propane burner that can be used both to prune and sanitize your fields for insects and disease. The machine has been used to kill potato tops and he will be demonstrating its use to prune wild blueberries (see https://www.flameengineering.com/agricultural-flamers-potato.php).

Improving Your Wild Blueberry Yields Series- Putting It All Together

I have discussed the importance of proper pruning, weed control, pollination, fertilizer, disease and insect control, and irrigation in our April through August newsletters.  The increases in yields obtained in both Maine and Canada have been due in part to the addition of wild blueberry land in Canada but the gains in Maine have been mostly through following the improved management practices I have discussed in this year’s newsletters.

Five-year wild blueberry yields for Maine and the Canandian Provinces.

Both the proper sequence and including all the inputs are needed to achieve the higher yields. One of our growers described it like making blueberry muffins: If you leave out an ingredient such as the baking powder, then you will not get the desired result. Proper pruning and weed control are the first essential parts, as is building up your plants with good nutrition.  Monitoring and treating for diseases and insects are also essential to prevent crop loss. The benefits of increased pollination and the use of irrigation can then be realized as these are the most expensive inputs and require that you maximize all of the other inputs in order to get the best returns.  We will continue to conduct research at the University of Maine and present this information to you to provide you with the tools you need to remain competitive with other blueberry growers throughout the world.

Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) Update

Frank Drummond has given you earlier updates either by email or on the Wild Blueberry Blog found at http://mainewildblueberries.blogspot.com/. We have seen a dramatic increase in fly captures and processing plants have found fruit with maggots in them resulting in more losses in processing as the fruit is removed decreasing the value of the blueberries.

We are continuing to do research at UMaine on the best trap design, bait, placement and insecticide treatment but this pest will continue to be a serious threat for years to come. In order for us to determine the best approach for future control we are asking all growers to fill out the enclosed Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) survey and either email the PDF copy to Phoebe Nylund at phoebe.nylund@maine.edu or return the paper copy in the enclosed postage-free business reply envelope. Your input is essential and gives us a better understanding on the best way to control this new pest.

Chart showing the number of SWD trapped in lowbush blueberries.



David E. Yarborough
Extension Blueberry Specialist

The University of Maine is an EEO/AA employer, and does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran’s status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity, 101 Boudreau Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5754, 207.581.1226, TTY 711 (Maine Relay System).

Wild blueberry fact sheets, past newsletters, contacts, resource links, calendar of events, and more can be found at the wild blueberry website: www.wildblueberries.maine.edu

Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.


Published and distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Land Grant University of the state of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the U.S.D.A. provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.

Call 800-287-0274 or TDD 800-287-8957 (in Maine), or 207-581-3188, for information on publications and program offerings from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or visit extension.umaine.edu.